Optimize Your Smart Thermostat Now for Winter

Optimize Your Smart Thermostat Now for Winter

Frigid temperatures and snowfall will be here before you know it. That makes now the ideal time to turn your Glenview, Illinois, home into a cozy oasis. From setting a heating schedule to managing indoor air quality, follow these steps to optimize your smart thermostat for winter:

Set a Heating Schedule

When you switch your HVAC system from cool to heat, take time to set an efficient heating schedule. At Roberts Heating & Air Conditioning, we recommend setting the thermostat to 68 degrees when your family is at home and awake to enjoy the warmth.

When you’re at work and the kids are at school, dial back the temperature by 8 to 10 degrees. Set the thermostat to about 58 degrees overnight, too.

By doing this, you’ll save up to 10 percent a year on your utility bill. You’ll also help your HVAC system run smoothly for as long as possible, since you’ll be giving it a break for at least eight hours a day. After all, your heating system doesn’t have to work as hard when your home’s indoor temperature is closer to the temperature outside.

While you can adjust the temperature to stay warm during the winter, resist the temptation to make frequent manual changes. Instead, program your family’s optimal heating schedule into a Côr Wi-Fi Thermostat ahead of time. Then sit back and relax as your HVAC system automatically keeps you comfortable all winter long.

Optimize HVAC Zoning

If you’ve already invested in HVAC zoning, which divides your home into two or more temperature zones, you’re already well on your way to optimal comfort during the winter.

With a smart thermostat like the Infinity Remote Access Touch Control, you can control every HVAC zone in your home from one central location. This smart device can handle up to eight zones. It even offers a custom naming option. You don’t have to walk over to the thermostat to adjust the settings for each zone, though. Just log in to the smartphone app and make adjustments on the go.

Monitor Energy Usage

Winter is the prime time for decreasing your household energy consumption, and your smart thermostat can help. Most smart devices allow you to track your energy usage, so you can easily spot patterns.

Check your smart thermostat’s energy reports at least once a month. You’ll easily identify days of the week or certain times of day when your family’s energy consumption spikes. Use what you’ve learned to reprogram your smart thermostat and keep your energy usage as low as possible.

Manage Indoor Air Quality

When the temperature falls below freezing, your family is more likely to spend additional time indoors. If you struggle with any lingering indoor air quality issues at home, such as low humidity, dust or mold, this is the time to address them.

Fortunately, your smart thermostat can help. The Côr Wi-Fi thermostat can manage your home’s humidity level for optimal health and comfort, while the Infinity Remote Touch Access Control can monitor humidity, ventilation and other indoor air quality add-ons.

Stay On Top of Reminders

A smart thermostat can do more than just keep you comfortable and help you save energy. These handy devices can also ensure that you never forget a maintenance appointment and always replace the air filter on time. Some thermostats will even remind you when it’s time to check the humidifier or replace the bulb in your ultraviolet (UV) lamp.

To make sure your smart thermostat helps your HVAC system maintain optimal energy efficiency, set the device to issue reminders based on system run-time. That way, you’ll get the most out of every component without running into efficiency issues.

Whether you need a hand with optimizing your smart thermostat or you’re in the market for a device with more bells and whistles, our team is at your service. Contact Roberts Heating & Air Conditioning for all your HVAC needs at 847-562-5292.

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Performing HVAC Maintenance Before Winter Fully Hits

Performing HVAC Maintenance Before Winter Fully Hits

Winter is almost here, and it’s already feeling brisk in Glenview, Illinois. Fortunately, it’s not too late to schedule your HVAC maintenance before winter fully sets in. There’s also plenty you can do on your own to prep your HVAC system for another season cold yet comfy season.

Change the Air Filters

The start of a new season is the perfect time to change your home’s air filters. Since filters become dirty and clogged over time, you should aim to change them at least once every three months. If you have multiple pets, you may want to change them more often.

Remember, just because you don’t see an actual clog doesn’t mean the filter isn’t dirty. Always err on the side of caution, and replace it with a new one on a regular basis.

Check the Thermostat

Thermostats don’t stay calibrated forever. Any accidental bump or dust accumulation can mess up the calibration. Now’s a good time to test the thermostat and check its settings.

To check a thermostat’s calibration, tape a glass tube thermometer to the wall a few inches from the thermostat. Since you don’t want it to touch the wall, pad it with some paper towels before taping it down. Wait 15 minutes for the mercury thermometer to stabilize, then read it.

Compare the thermometer’s reading to the thermostat’s temperature. If they’re off by more than one degree, you’ll need a professional HVAC service technician calibrate the thermostat.

Invest In an Air Conditioner Cover

While you don’t need to keep your exterior AC unit covered all winter long, it’s important to protect it from storm damage. Make sure you’ve purchased a suitable cover.

The unit is designed to stand up to extreme temperatures, including layers of frost and snow. But if it’s encased in a thick layer of ice, the coil fins, blades and other components can damage.

Your HVAC system is one of your home’s biggest investments. You want to take care of it properly and make sure it’s protected from blizzards, ice and falling debris.

Invest in a specially designed AC cover, though. Never wrap the unit in plastic and duct tape, because a DIY wrap can encourage rodents and other pests to take up residence. This can also encourage mold growth, so choose a suitable cover and use it wisely.

Prevent Wasted Energy

The key to staying warm and cozy all winter is in preventing energy from escaping and letting the cold air in. Reduce your seasonal energy bills by performing a simple checklist throughout the home. Cover your water heater with an insulating blanket, update your programmable thermostat as needed, insulate water pipes and search for air leaks.

Whenever you feel a draft inside the home, look around for causes. You may need to add weatherstripping, upgrade to more efficient windows or simply stuff a rolled-up towel underneath a door to prevent heated air from escaping.

Schedule Your Annual HVAC Maintenance

While there’s plenty you can do to prep your HVAC system for winter, nothing replaces professional HVAC maintenance. Nobody understands the ins and outs of home heating and cooling like the experts. Schedule an appointment before that first snowstorm hits to make sure you’re well prepared.

Scheduling your yearly HVAC service before winter is also a smart way to prepare for the coming season. An HVAC service technician can spot any potential problems that can lead to system breakdowns in the middle of a harsh winter night. Since you’ll have time to take care of these issues before extreme weather sets in, you won’t find yourself without heat when your family needs it most.

Don’t put off your pre-winter HVAC prep any longer. Perform as many DIY tasks as possible to get your system ready for the coming season, and call the experts at Roberts Heating & Air Conditioning at 847-562-5292. With our heating services, we’ll help you and your family stay toasty warm all winter long.

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4 Questions to Ask Your Service Technician During HVAC Maintenance

4 Questions to Ask Your Service Technician During HVAC Maintenance

You should schedule a service technician to visit your home at least once a year for a regular HVAC maintenance. Keeping up with maintenance in your Glenview, Illinois, home helps you lower utility bills, minimize the need for repairs, and extend the lifespan of your heating and cooling system.

While your service technician is on hand inspecting your system, you have a great opportunity to bring up any concerns you might have. Asking the right questions during your HVAC maintenance visit helps you make the most of your system throughout the year.

How Can I Best Program My Thermostat?

Today’s smart thermostats have many handy features. Unless you devoured your user manual page-by-page, you’re probably missing out on a few handy settings or tricks to make better use of your system. Don’t hesitate to ask your service technician for his or her take on the best way to manage your home comfort.

During your maintenance visit, our service technicians will inspect your thermostat carefully to make sure it’s working well. As they’re checking to make sure the readings are correct, they can also give you a quick tutorial on how your thermostat works.

If you have a programmable thermostat, you can adjust the temperatures by the time of day and day of the week so you’re not using it as much when no one is home. Using the best temperature settings for each situation helps you cut back on your energy expenses without suffering from extreme heat or cold.

What’s That Noise?

Whether your system is making a brand new noise or you’re simply concerned about a hum that you’ve heard for a long time, your HVAC maintenance visit is a great time to get some clarification. Many noises are early warning signs of a pending problem that may need a repair. Though your technician should spot any issues in the course of his inspection, it never hurts to point out what you’ve noticed since you live with the unit everyday.

You may also learn that a seemingly suspicious click or whir is perfectly normal. This eases your concerns and helps you sleep a little sounder knowing there’s nothing to worry about.

Where Is My HVAC Filter?

If you don’t know where your filter is and how to change it, now is the time to ask. Our service technicians change your filter as part of the standard maintenance process, but this is something you should do on your own between visits.

It’s generally recommended that you change your HVAC filter at least once every three months. If you have a lot of dust, dander and pollen around your home, you may want to increase the frequency to as often as once a month.

Your service technician can also offer some tips for choosing the right filter for your next change. He or she will let you know what size you need and what MERV rating is best for your system and home.

How Can I Increase My Comfort?

If you’re struggling with any discomfort issues related to your home’s temperature, humidity or air quality, let us know. We can offer helpful solutions that can make you more comfortable in your everyday environment.

If you’re having trouble with allergens and irritants, we can explore air purifiers and cleaners with you. If you’re dealing with high or low humidity levels, a whole-home humidifier or dehumidifier might help. Ventilators help you battle stale air, and a duct sealing can eliminate hot and cold spots around the house.

Our service technicians understand that no two homes are the same. We work with you to come up with custom solutions that keep you comfortable in any weather. Whether you’re looking for a way to battle dry and itchy eyes or you want to figure out why your living room is always a little too cold, we can help.

If you’re overdue for your annual air conditioning or heating maintenance visit, give Roberts Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc. a call at 847-562-5292 to schedule your appointment. We’ll get your system in top shape and offer friendly answers to all your questions.

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3 Ways to Allergy-Proof Your Home

3 Ways to Allergy-Proof Your Home

Summer is for barbecues, swimming pools, and spending plenty of time with friends and family, not for coughing, sneezing, and clearing the nearest grocery store out of all its tissues. Unfortunately, you can’t do much to avoid outdoor allergies unless you take plenty of allergy medication or avoid going outside altogether. You can, however, do a few things to control allergies within your home. That way, you can finally find relief and enjoy the Northbrook, Illinois, summer rather than suffering through it.

Cut allergens off at their source to prevent their spread and be on your way toward building an allergy-proof sanctuary.

Keep Allergens Outside

If your daughter or son has seasonal allergies, budding trees, green grass, seeds, pollen, and other particles are their nemesis. You might not be able to keep those trees from budding or those seeds from riding the wind to your yard, but you can limit their entrance to your home. Start by placing a welcome mat at your front door. Believe it or not, something that simple will catch pollen and other particles before they spread through your home. It also helps remind guests and family members to take their shoes off at the door to contain whatever particles they might have brought in.

Keep an eye on the area around your front door, where allergens can easily float in. Some of those particles might not land on the welcome mat, so you’ll need to sweep or vacuum them quickly before they can spread throughout the rest of the home.

Control Humidity

Humidity is one of those aspects of your home that needs to be kept in balance. The right level of humidity keeps your home comfortable and your family healthy, but during the summer, our homes are often too humid, which can result in the growth of mold and mildew. Because these fungi tend to grow in moist, warm areas, do what you can to keep your home ventilated, especially in places that get warm and wet, like your bathroom. To help ventilate your home, consider having us install a ventilator.

If humidity continues to be an issue despite your best efforts, install a whole-home dehumidifier. This piece of HVAC tech works with your air conditioner to draw water vapor out of the air as it passes through the system.

Care for Pets

You knew when you bought a pet that it might affect your allergies. But Fido is a part of the family now, so there’s no way you’re getting rid of him, no matter how much he makes you and the kids sneeze. The good news is there are a few ways to control pet-related allergies.

First, you need to know where those allergies are most likely coming from. We’ve all heard of pet dander, and while many think dander is simply dead skin flakes, it’s more than that. Most dogs and cats have a protein in their saliva that humans are allergic to. When they spread that protein over their fur and the dead skin beneath it, dander becomes a problem.

Start limiting pet allergies by cleaning your pets often. Scrub them down to get that dead skin and saliva out of their fur. If your pets have rolled around in the grass outside, scrub them down as soon as they come in to prevent pollen and other allergens from hitching a ride on your airflow. And as difficult as it might be, you’ll want to keep your pet from licking your skin, which puts you in direct contact with the allergens. Keep pets out of bedrooms and off furniture to give your family some relief and contain the spread of allergens.

Allergies quickly put a damper on anyone’s day, but they don’t have to. You’ll notice that these allergy-proofing methods are habits; they must be repeated constantly to keep your home clean and your family healthy. If you’re looking for more technical ways to improve your indoor air quality, such as with a ventilator, air purifier, or dehumidifier, call Roberts Heating and Cooling at 847-562-5292.

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Why You Need a Home Repair Budget

Why You Need a Home Repair Budget

When thinking about buying a home, your head is full of closet space and kitchen remodels and mortgage rates. The repairs you’ll need to do on the house as you live in it for years to come aren’t exactly at the forefront of your mind. But they should be. A home repair budget is part of owning a home in Northbrook, Illinois. Even the most responsible homeowners face unexpected home repairs, and having a budget is the best way to face the possible issues that come up.

All Homes Need Repairs

Whether your home is five years old or was built in the 1800s, it is going to need repairs. The age of your house doesn’t necessarily indicate that it’s in good condition; some homeowners take good care of older houses, and those homes need fewer repairs when you buy them. Other homeowners let nice, new houses get run-down, which means you’ll be repairing a lot.

Regardless, never assume that your house will be perfect, no matter what your home inspection says or how responsible the former owners seem. Home repairs are simply part of owning a house, so you should always remember that when you create a budget for purchasing a new home.

Putting It off Makes Things Worse

So you didn’t set aside a home repair budget, and now you have a big plumbing problem. You might be able to fix it temporarily by using a plunger or dumping drain cleaner into your pipes, but those stopgap measures only work for so long. The problem will come back, and it’ll be worse than before because you put off fixing it.

When you don’t start saving for home repairs until you need the repairs done, you end up spending more. The issue gets bigger as you save, which means it becomes more costly to fix. Some issues, like roof leaks, are relatively inexpensive when they first happen but can quickly wreak havoc on your roof insulation and drywall if left unfixed for too long.

Don’t Forget Maintenance Costs

A home repair budget also covers maintenance costs. Some years you won’t have any large home repairs, but you’ll still have maintenance to factor in. If you save enough for maintenance while you’re budgeting for home repairs, that’s a smart move. Maintenance is a major way to keep home repair costs down.

Prolonging your HVAC system’s life starts with maintenance. HVAC parts aren’t exactly cheap, but when we catch problems early, the repairs are far less costly than when we have to do a big fix. Plus, routine maintenance means your HVAC system will last longer, giving you a few extra years before you have to replace the old system.

Figure Out a Budget and Stick to It

How do you budget for home repairs? Different sources offer different advice, but most people say you should save between 1 and 4 percent of your home’s value every year. Here’s the key: if you don’t use all (or any) of this year’s budget, don’t put it back in your savings account. This is a cumulative budget because there will come a time when you need $10,000 for a huge repair, like roof replacement.

Remember, this advice is just that: advice. Figuring out exactly how much you’ll need to save for home repairs is going to take time. If you find yourself always cleaning out your home repair account, reassess how much you’re saving and consider saving more. Plus, when you sell your house, if you haven’t used your home repair budget, it can become the start of your next home’s repair budget!

A home repair budget isn’t the most fun financial work to do, but it is necessary. When it’s time for HVAC maintenance, repairs, or replacement, call Roberts Heating and Air. Consider a maintenance plan so you stay on top of HVAC maintenance throughout your homeownership. Trust us, maintenance is the best way to keep your HVAC system running smoothly and to avoid an unexpected AC or heating problem. Book a technician by reaching us at 847-562-5292.

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Why You Should Go Ductless Now

Why You Should Go Ductless Now

If you’re in the market for a new HVAC system for your home in Northbrook, Illinois, now is the time to consider going ductless. Installing a ductless system now will save you money on your bills this summer and catch your contractor during their low season.

Get the Contractor in the Low Season

The busiest time for contractors is during the height of winter and summer because that is when systems tend to break down suddenly. If you’re in the market for a new system, then now is the time to start talking to your HVAC contractor. Take the time now to figure out what system would be best and if ductless is a good option for you. Your contractor won’t be as rushed since it tends to be a slower season. Once you know, you can schedule your upgrade during the early spring and have your new system in place just in time for the heat of summer.

Weigh Your Choices

A ductless system is a good choice for many people, but it’s not for everyone. During late winter and spring, your HVAC system gets a little break. If you start weighing your options and researching systems now, you give yourself the time to make an informed decision on what is best for your home. If you decide to upgrade your system in the middle of the winter or the summer, your perception might be affected by making a snap decision to combat the weather.

Enjoy Zone Air Conditioning this Summer

One of the perks of a ductless system is the ability to control your home by zones. With zone control, you don’t have to cool your entire home equally, especially if there are rooms that you don’t use as much. If the sun hits one room during the day, you can cool off that room more instead of turning down your entire thermostat. If you go ductless now, you can enjoy these perks all summer.

Save Space

Traditional HVAC systems are bulky. Window units are also bulky, aren’t aesthetically pleasing, and offer easier opportunities for break-ins. If space is a concern, then investing in a ductless system will help with that. Ductless systems take up very little space in your home, and you don’t have to worry about a bulky system outside or in your basement. Ductless systems have also gotten more attractive and are hardly noticeable in many homes.

Experience Utility Savings Today

The sooner you upgrade to a ductless system, the faster you’ll see the savings on your utility bills. Ductless systems allow you to control the temperature in various rooms, which means you don’t waste money heating and cooling rooms that you don’t use often. As the name suggests, ductless systems don’t use ducts, which are perpetrators of wasted energy in your home when they aren’t correctly sealed.

Cancel Noise Pollution

Although central air and heating systems have their perks, noise is not one of them. Cancel out the noise pollution in your home by investing in a ductless system. Traditional HVAC systems like central air and furnaces make a lot of noise. The furnace turns on and off while it’s heating your home. Sometimes you can hear whistling in your ducts. If you’re a light sleeper, work from home, or just get annoyed easily, then you can cut out the inconvenience by switching to a ductless system.

Improve Your Indoor Air Quality

The ducts are a major contributor to poor indoor air quality. Dander, hair, bugs, and other pollutants sometimes get through your air filter and wind up in your ducts. All the air in your home goes through those pollutants or blows them into your home. With a ductless system, you don’t have to worry about getting your ducts cleaned regularly or your air blowing through those contaminants. It’s easy to change the filter on your ductless system, improving the IAQ in your home.

If you want to learn more about ductless systems, we are the people to call. Contact Roberts Heating & Cooling at 847-562-5292 to speak to an experienced professional today.

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